Each Fall, businesses work on marketing goals and strategies for the upcoming year. As a result, they generally have innovative and powerful plans in place when the New Year arrives.
But what happens when those plans don’t adapt to meet the demands of changing customers, media, markets, and technology? As the year progresses, stagnant plans can dramatically hinder the success of a company’s marketing and growth.
That’s why building in a six month check-up – quarterly is preferred; six months is realistic – is essential for every marketing plan. At six months, some programs may be delivering exceptionally well and need no adjustment. But, if you goals have become more stretch than realistic, it may be time to adjust the plan.
Start the review with Discovery – a mini-SWOT – that looks at the premises used to create your initial plan.
- Are the company’s business goals the same?
- Have the products/services offered changed and been delivered on-time, without quality issues?
- Have the target markets changed or expanded?
- Have existing and prospective customers changed?
- What is happening on the competitive front that may impact your business?
- How is the economy performing and impacting your customers and your company?
Then look at what the market is telling you:
- What do the media say?
- What do customers say publicly and to your colleagues?
- How is the competition marketing?
If your Discovery identifies any significant changes or the market is telling you they don’t buy your messages, it is time to reevaluate and realign the plan.
If there are no significant changes, then look at the current program and the impact it has made year-to-date. If you are seeing results but they don’t translate to impact or the impact is negative, re-examine the original strategies; they may not have been the best approach.
How do you change course mid-year? First, understand what your customers want, what your company’s goals are, what your competitors are doing, and what differentiates you from your competition. Second, e-developing your strategies so you can communicate the right message to the right people, using the right tools at the right time.
Some marketing professionals are concerned about their image internally if they put on the brakes and change direction. If you have concerns, think about these wise words from Albert Einstein, “The definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting different results”.
Changing the direction to meet customer needs, the changing market and to adjust for your competitor’s strategies, is exactly what strategic marketing professionals are expected to do. After all, changing now can drive your company’s and your professional success in the not too distant future. If you aren’t sure how your plan is working, give us a call. We’ll help you figure it out.